Over the years, I've interviewed dozens of product managers and marketing directors and I've fine-tuned the following list of interview questions to help me identify top talent. My goal has always been to conduct an interview that gives an opportunity for the best candidates to stand-out from the crowd. So, if you are a VP/Director Product and you are looking to build a team of great product managers, here is the list of interview questions you'll want to ask. And, if you're a Product Manager coming to one of my interviews, you can't say you didn't have an opportunity to be prepared.
NOTE: I removed the general questions I would normally ask a candidate to guage their knowledge of our products, company, and industry or assess their fit with our culture and determine salary requirements. There are plenty of resources available online for those questions? These interview questions are specific to marketing and product management roles:
- How many years of direct product management experience do you possess?
- Talk me through how you’ve successfully managed an entire product life-cycle from start to finish?
- Give me a specific example of how you've innovated with a product or service that you've managed? What was the business result? How could you have improved results?
- What is your single, greatest achievement? What significant, long-term impact was achieved? How could you have done better?
- If you could manage any product, from any industry, from any time, which would you choose and why? What would you change?
- Give me an example of how you’ve defined and managed a development project to a successful conclusion?
- Have you ever had a project go over schedule or budget? Describe an occasion where you didn't anticipate an obstacle you faced?
- What is primary difference between Waterfall and Agile development philosophies?
- In your opinion, which leads to a more successful project: creating an MRD/PRD or producing customer case studies and user-persona's?
- Tell me about a time you've had to manage several important, often conflicting, priorities to achieve a goal. How did you stay organized?
- Tell me about a time when you’ve identified an opportunity or recommended tactical strategy to management?
- What systems, tools, and procedures do you use to support your product management efforts?
- Have you ever had to make a critical decision on the spot? What was the decision and result? How did you go about making the decision?
- Describe your analytical approach in to solving a problem or answering a complex question?
- Tell me about three products or brands you admire most, and why? What do you think is the key to their success?
- Describe for me your favorite product’s key brand message, value proposition, target audience, and positioning statement?
- What thought-process do you go through or strategies do you employ to set pricing? Have you ever set the wrong price?
- Describe your background and experience in performing competitive analyses, customer surveys, and market research?
- What tools have you used to educate sales, public relations, customer service, and technical support about your product's key features and benefits?
- What personal qualities do you possess that enable you to lead others? What personal characteristics have you found hurt your ability to lead?
- Give me an example of a situation or decision you've had to make where you took an unpopular stand? What was the end-result?
- Describe a significant problem you've encountered recently and how you dealt with it?
- What is the most effective way you’ve found to gain the support of your co-workers, peers, and project team members?
- Describe a conflict in workplace where your diplomacy skills were tested? How did you handle the situation?